First published in Landings, August, 2017
Tanner Tufts, an 8-year-old third grader at Wells Elementary School, is spending his summer learning the ins and outs of lobstering with his father, Bryan Tufts, a Kennebunkport lobsterman.
This past winter and spring, his father showed Tanner how to build traps and together the two of them made ten three-foot traps for Tanner to start hauling in order to start accumulating his required 2,000 hours of fishing to get his license. Tanner was a good observer and did some of the wire cutting and assembly himself, according to his father. “He also learned to tie some knots,” Bryan added. The two painted Tanner’s buoys a lime-green and red. Tanner said he chose red “because it is the Wells school color” and that “the black and white on the traps are school colors too.”
The traps are double-tagged so they can be hauled in both Tanner’s skif Cynthia Sue (named after Tanner’s step-grandmother and aunt), and also from Bryan’s boat Nan-Con (named after Bryan’s mother and grandmother.) Tanner’s skiff is docked at Performance Marine in Kennebunk, owned by Dwight Raymond. Raymond said he was happy to work with the Tufts’ family to have Tanner dock there. “If a kid wants to work and show a good work ethic, I try to help them. Bryan’s mother taught him a good work ethic at a young age and now he is instilling it in Tanner,” Raymond said.
In addition to lobstering, Tanner likes to hunt and go deep-sea fishing. He is also a good student, a Cub Scout, and an athlete as well. He plays football, basketball, AAA Minors baseball, and was Rookie of the Year in wrestling. Th e third grader has no trouble at all lifting his traps, which he does properly and with ease. In fact, he said he is looking forward to hauling by hand because “It will make me stronger for football and wrestling.”
Though he is only 8 years old, this gogetter said he already has his goals set for the future. “If I don’t end up lobstering, I want to be a Merchant Mariner.”